Chemopreventive activity of Withania somnifera in experimentally induced fibrosarcoma tumours in Swiss albino mice

Phytother Res. 2001 May;15(3):240-4. doi: 10.1002/ptr.779.


The current experimental work deals with the chemopreventive studies of a hydroalcoholic extract of Withania somnifera roots, against 20-methylcholanthrene induced fibrosarcoma tumours in Swiss albino mice. A single subcutaneous injection of 200 microg 20-methylcholanthrene in 0.1 mL of dimethylsulphoxide into the thigh region of mice produced a high incidence (96%) of tumours. Oral treatment of animals with 400 mg/kg body weight of Withania somnifera extract (one week before injecting 20-methylcholanthrene and continued until 15 weeks thereafter) significantly reduced the tumour incidence, tumour volume and enhanced the survival of the mice, compared with 20-methylcholanthrene injected mice. The tumour incidence was also delayed in the treatment group when compared with 20-methylcholanthrene injected mice. Liver biochemical parameters revealed a significant modulation of reduced glutathione, lipid peroxides, glutathione-S-transferase, catalase and superoxide dismutase in extract treated mice compared with 20-methylcholanthrene injected mice. The mechanism of chemopreventive activity of Withania somnifera extract may be due to its antioxidant and detoxifying properties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Fibrosarcoma / chemically induced
  • Fibrosarcoma / prevention & control*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Medicine, Ayurvedic
  • Methylcholanthrene
  • Mice
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Solanaceae*


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Methylcholanthrene